GamerLegion reached the Paris CSGO Major final. Now what?

Michal Konkol/BLAST

Dexerto spoke with GamerLegion’s Director of Esports to know what lies ahead after their team’s surprise second place at the BLAST Paris Major.

After the frenzy of the Major was over and the emotions died down, GamerLegion immediately began mapping out the next course of action.

The team exceeded even the wildest of expectations in Paris, reaching the grand final of what was a strange and upset-filled final CS:GO Major.

In a scene where the gulf between the partner teams and the rest is palpable for most of the calendar, the Major once again served as the great leveler.

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GamerLegion jumped 20 places in the world rankings to a record seventh after the Major. Recovering from a 0-2 start to the Challengers Stage, GamerLegion beat teams like MOUZ, OG, Fnatic and Heroic en route to the final before suffering a 0-2 defeat to hometown favorites Vitality.

“Now it’s the time for us to take the next step to stay in the tier-one scene,” Julian ‘morxzas’ Miculcy, GamerLegion’s Director of Esports, told Dexerto. “We are in our highest ranking on HLTV and ESL and we want to stay there. We want to play the big tournaments and not be in the lower tiers all the time.

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“The last days have been spent working on that, how we can build on this.”

Over the course of CS:GO’s rich history, there have been many cases of teams falling apart after Cinderella stories at Majors. The most famous example was the Cloud9 team that collapsed shortly after winning the ELEAGUE Boston Major in 2018, knowing that it would be impossible to live up to the lofty standards set by that miracle tournament run.

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Several of GamerLegion’s players drew considerable interest during the Paris Major. There’s Kamil ‘siuhy’ Szkaradek, widely regarded as one of the most promising in-game leaders in the scene. (In September, morxzas told Dexerto that he believes siuhy can be “the next karrigan.“) Star player Mihai ‘iM’ Ivan was in the running for the MVP award until the final, and AWPer Frederik ‘acoR’ Gyldstrand continued to show why MOUZ were wrong to ditch him without ever really giving him the resources to shine.

As the summer season approaches and the rumor mill kicks into life, GamerLegion’s players are being earmarked as improvements for a number of teams, from G2 and Fnatic to Team Liquid and MOUZ.

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With the big names expected to encircle their players like sharks, is there any hope that GamerLegion will be able to fend off all this interest?

“I feel like there are obviously organizations who will have interest,” morxzas said. “But if we want to stay in tier one, we need to keep the team together, and I feel we have a great chance of doing that.”

GamerLegion’s future

The polarization in the CS:GO scene is something that has been talked about for some time, with the BLAST Premier circuit and, to a lesser degree, the ESL Pro Tour offering few opportunities for non-partner teams, who have to go through an endless cycle of qualifiers to get into the main tournaments.

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At the same time, venture-capital-backed organizations possess a financial muscle that allows them to pry top talent away from smaller teams. During the Major, acoR notably said that if a tier-one team offers a player seven times his current salary and the chance to play all of the best tournaments, “there’s no one who can say no to that.”

The lure of entering the CS:GO elite may be too hard to pass up for some, but morxzas insisted there are merits to staying in a project like GamerLegion.

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“I feel like if you’re an up-and-coming player and if you join, for example, FaZe, and things aren’t working out, you get thrown on the bench and you will be forgotten,” he said. “Nobody will think about you anymore because you tried to be a tier-one player and you didn’t succeed, so your career is basically over.

“I feel like we have a good chance to have the environment for players to grow, to stay with us and get better and better. And then eventually, maybe in one or two years, we will also have to make changes, and this can be the opportunity for them to make the jump to FaZe or something.

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“But maybe in one or two years, we are the next FaZe. You never know. And I don’t think our players are really money driven. I think we have a lot of things to offer that maybe other organizations have forgotten about.”

Michal Konkol/BLAST
The hype around siuhy has only increased since the Paris Major

A week after the Major, rumors began surfacing about G2 Esports’ interest in signing siuhy as their new in-game leader to replace Rasmus ‘HooXi’ Nielsen. This prompted a scathing response from morxzas himself, who accused the source of the rumor of attempting to “exploit hyped players.”

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Questioned about all this frenzy of speculation, morxzas said: “I feel like the rumors are way bigger than the actual interest. People have been creating rumors when there has been no actual interest.”

GamerLegion currently has only one tournament lined up, Gamers8, but the massive leap in the world rankings is bound to lead to invites to IEM Cologne and ESL Pro League 18.

For CS:GO teams like GamerLegion, Monte, and Apeks, the work never stops. It’s a constant grind to stay at the top in order to earn invites to more events and keep having tournament opportunities. One slip-up and any of these teams could be back playing multiple tier-two online competitions simultaneously and spending months without a LAN event.

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morxzas hopes that the team’s story will diverge from what appears to be a Sisyphean fate. But whatever comes next, he believes that the against-all-odds Paris run is proof of concept of the organization’s doctrine and sets it up for a promising future, one that could take it to other games, like Valorant.

“We took a good route and now we’re getting success out of it,” he said. “People are seeing that what we are doing is the proper way.

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“It’s not just, ‘I pay two million to buy five players and let’s go’. It’s more about developing talent and trying to make it as good as possible. This is what we proved and that’s why people are interested in us.”

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